Digitized Manuscript from the Biblioteca de la Universidad de Barcelona

Devotionarium - Universitat de Barcelona. CRAI. Manuscrit. Ms. 1860

The Biblioteca de la Universidad de Barcelona one of the many new digitized libraries to the DMMapp (we are now at 500+!). The link to the Barcelona University Library was given to us through a tweet from @Archivalia_kg (he also has an excellent blog in German!)

The Biblioteca de la Universidad de Barcelona website

This is the second digital library from spain we review, with the first one being the Biblioteca Nacional de España. The Universidad de Barcelona (here) is home to 69 digitized manuscripts dating from the 10th century until the 18th. The interface is excellent: The link we provide takes you directly to the manuscripts. Here you can choose to have a “thumbnail” overview of the manuscripts along with the standard list. Manuscripts are completely digitized from front to back, and you are able to download them in rather high-resolution (1500×1200 circa, depending on the manuscript). The images present, in my opinion, an evident “blue” tint, meaning that the there is “too much blue channel” in the digital pictures. The images you see in this post have been processed. Something to keep in mind when looking at the miniatures for research purposes. Furthermore, there is no indication of which folio is being looked at, or being downloaded; only a generic indication of a “page”. The website is available in Catalan, Spanish, and English. The available metadata is quite standard and nothing more: no description of what is being looked at except the title, author, call name, copyrights, etc. A little description on significant folios or miniatures would have been nice to see, but it would be huge quantity of work to be done.

Copyright the Biblioteca de la Universidad de Barcelona

The images from the the Barcelona University Library are public domain, that means that images can be downloaded and used for any purpose.and that’s always a welcome sight! You can share the images on your blog, publish them in your book or thesis, make videos out of them, or anything that comes to your mind. Very good!

Highlights from the Biblioteca de la Universidad de Barcelona

The Universidad de Barcelona digital collection is full of interesting manuscripts to be explored. Here are some examples:

Psalterium - Biblioteca de la Universidad de Barcelona CRAI. Manuscrit. Ms. 165
Psalterium – Universitat de Barcelona. CRAI. Manuscrit. Ms. 165
Liber horarum - Biblioteca de la Universidad de Barcelona CRAI. Manuscrit. Ms. 1841
Liber horarum – Universitat de Barcelona. CRAI. Manuscrit. Ms. 1841

The digitized manuscripts of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Marlay cutting It. 12

That little jewel in the in the center of Cambridge that is the Fitzwilliam Museum is home to an extraordinary collection of paintings, engravings, and most importantly for us, digitized medieval manuscripts. These manuscripts are available online (and linked in our app) so we went to give a look to see what wealth is available to us.

The Fitzwilliam Museum’s website

Following the link in on the DMMapp, you are taken directly to a list of all the digitized objects made available from the Fitzwilliam Museum that contain the keyword “manuscript”. As you will notice, on the left there is the possibility to further refine this search by showing objects that contain images, by maker, production place, etc., giving you plenty of control over what you would like to find.

Master of the Murano Gradual
Master of the Murano Gradual, The Dormition of the Virgin from the Gradual of San Mattia in Murano, Venice, c. 1420

Manuscripts are partially digitized and in most cases you will not be able to browse from front to back cover, but you will still be able to look at more than 700 digitized and described objects. The metadata is of alternating quality. In some cases you can read through a detailed description of a manuscript (MS McClean 172 is a perfect example), in others you might find the title and some basic information only (see MS CFMurray 15).

The technical problem with the images is that they are “responsive”. This means that the smaller your screen is, the smaller the digitized image shown will be. Furthermore there is no direct way to view the images full size, or to zoom in and out. That is a bit inconvenient; although a user-friendly solution (you will always see a good image, no matter on what device you are on), it doesn’t help a researcher that might be interested in the small details.
Finally, the size of the images themselves are not amazing. They are actually rather small: with the long side hardly ever going above 720 pixels, one could say they are “HD Ready” more than “Full HD”.

Although rather small and not perfect to navigate, the digitized pages are still an excellent starting point for both researchers and manuscript enthusiasts.

What can I find there?

Fascinating to us is the presence of an inhabited letter attributed to the Master of the Murano Gradual. If you have visited the Getty Museum’s collection after reading our post about it, you will note a striking resemblance to one of the digitized images available there. To prove the quality the descriptions available there, we strongly recommend that you give a look at the notes available on the Fitzwilliam Museum’s page regarding their initial. It narrates a very fascinating story about miniature painting in Italy in the late 14th century.

And don’t forget the miniatures by the “Masters of the Beady Eyes”! Awesome!

Masters of the Beady Eyes
MS 1-1974 – Illumination in the style of the Masters of the Beady Eyes (Maîtres aux Yeux-Bridés), who were active mainly in Ghent during the third quarter of the fifteenth century.

Overall, the Fitzwilliam Museum’s website and its digitized collection is most certainly worth more than a visit. There is a lot of content worth viewing, and navigating through it is a pleasure. Go and see for yourself!

The digital collection of the Openbare Bibliotheek Brugge (Public Library of Bruges)

As someone who loves manuscripts and medieval culture, you might one day end up in Belgium, exploring Flanders, and you might go to Bruges, which was flourishing in the Middle Ages. The area has produced countless beautiful manuscripts with a very typical and recognizable style of  illuminations now preserved at the Public Library of Bruges.

Bruges’ golden days were in the Middle Ages when it was a very prosperous harbor city that attracted many merchants. The historical city centre today is still much like it was in the Middle Ages which makes it an amazing place to visit for every medievalist (or everyone. Period).

While you are there, there is also a library you should visit: the Openbare Bibliotheek Brugge (OBB) – Public Library of Bruges and its extensive collection, which you can visit here or here.

About the Openbare Bibliotheek Brugge – Public Library of Bruges

Situated in the city center, the OBB is home to volumes that once belonged to various monastery libraries in the area; in 1798 the French government gathered these books into one collection and in 1804 this was handed over to the city of Bruges, where it is now housed in the Public Library of Bruges. The library also possesses manuscripts from the Cistercian abbeys of Ten Duinen and Ter Doest not too far from Bruges.

The Public Library of Bruges is currently doing an excellent job digitizing their manuscripts, and many of these are already available online. Unfortunately, at the moment the databases can only be consulted in Dutch because of government decrees, but worry not! We are here to help you on your way navigating through the collection and find awesome manuscripts!

As always, you can access the Openbare Bibliotheek Brugge via the DMMapp, or you can start by looking at the manuscripts on this page, clicking on them and discovering the rest of the collection on their website. There are various places where you can view the manuscripts, and find information about them:

Over at Flandrica, if you are viewing the full entry of a particular manuscript you can click the images on top to view them bigger. Or you can also view it online if there is the orange button with “Bekijk online”.

A look at the digital manuscripts

The viewer for the manuscripts gives a nice thumbnail overview in the left sidebar to make it easier to navigate and find what you are looking for. It gives a bit the experience of ‘leafing’ through the book. Unfortunately, at the moment the images can be only zoomed to a small degree (click right to zoom) and the images cannot be downloaded or directly shared.

What is very good about the library’s own website is that they give a direct link not only to the digitized manuscript but they also refer you to various other sources about the book such as books, articles or blog posts. Also, the full descriptions of the manuscripts are rich, and in the future they will be expanded with iconographical descriptions.

Under ‘media’ you can see some pictures of the manuscripts, the complete work can be seen through the “Bekijk hier de digitale versie” link. The images in ‘media’ are of good size and quality and can easily shared and/or saved.

In this library you will not only find beautiful examples of the best of medieval Bruges illuminated books of hours. For instance they also preserve a manuscript of the Liber Trotula (work on women’s medicine), an early printed edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses with illuminated borders, a work by Augustine, De Natura Rerum (by Thomas of Cantimpré), a legal manuscript (Justinian) possibly from Bologna, and much much more.

The collections of the Openbare Bibliotheek Brugge are a beautiful showcase of the  treasures from this part of Flanders and are certainly worth visiting, both in real life and digitally.


For some manuscripts you cannot find the digital version, but you can find some images in the blog posts, if they have written about this manuscript in particular.

Finally, we leave you with this fantastic video made by them:

400+ links on the DMMapp!


We are extremely proud to communicate that the DMMapp has now reached (and surpassed… we are adding a few in the next days!) the 400 links milestone! This means that, thanks to everyone’s submissions, we can link to more than 400 libraries, archives, repositories, etc. that are home to digitized medieval manuscripts! You can find the latest additions on our tidy list. Also, here’s a short list of the latest additions:

The DMMapp, as it used to be a year ago.

Does this milestone mark the end of our project? Does the DMMapp project ever end? No and no. The DMMapp is fueled by passion and not by money and that makes all the difference in the world. We managed to create a system that allows us to update the links very quickly and effortlessly, so it is easy for us to update the DMMapp when we receive a new link or an update. It’s very cheap to support and works well. The development of other projects (iPad / iPhone app, Android app, world conquest) takes more time; unfortunately Sexy Codicology and the DMMapp are not our full-time jobs and many things can get in the way.

The DMMapp
The DMMapp today!

The DMMapp: made by its users!

But thankfully we are not in this alone! If you are an active user of the DMMapp, you will have noticed that there are broken links here and there. That is unavoidable as repositories often change web addresses or disappear. We do our best to keep everything updated, but you can help too! If you encounter a broken link, please report it. We will take care of either removing the link completely (since the digitized manuscripts are gone, for example) or update the link with the new address. We are working on creating a button just for that purpose!

Remember, the DMMapp is a crowdsourced project. My colleague and I added the first few links but the ones who made it a really useful resource are its users; it’s you!

The Bamberg State Library’s Digital Collection

De natura rerum - Staatsbibliothek Bamberg Msc.Nat.1

Today we are going to give a look at the Digital collection of Bamberg State Library. A fantastic collection of manuscripts, fully digitized, in high quality, and available for everyone to browse, explore, and study. Actually, we should be speaking of collections, plural, since two collections are present: The collection “Manuscripts of Henry II” is traced back to the emperor Henry II, who founded the bishopric of Bamberg in 1007; and the new digital collection. Let’s see!

The first horseman, Conquest on the White Horse
Bamberger Apokalypse – 14r – The first horseman, Conquest on the White Horse – The text reads:
Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. – Revelation 6:1-2˄

Manuscripts of Henry II

The first collection derives from the many precious manuscripts Henry II and his predecessors had collected or commissioned. Manuscripts from various spiritual centers of the West were brought to Bamberg as a result. Completed since 2013, this collection contains all this 165 manuscripts associated with Henry II, which originated in or before his lifetime.

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg; photo: Gerald Raab
Msc.Can. 13 – Staatsbibliothek Bamberg; photo:
Gerald Raab

Treasures of the Bamberg State Library

The new digital collection, part of the website “Treasures of the Bamberg State Library”, also contains the aforementioned collection of Henry II, along with a constantly updated collection of newly digitized medieval manuscripts.
In the ensuing period many books were written and illuminated in the town, notably in the 12th century by the Benedictine monks of Mount St. Michael. All that remained of these manuscripts in the monasteries of the town and bishopric up to 1802/1803 was incorporated into one library (now the Bamberg State Library) during the period of German Mediatisation. Among the incredible manuscripts you can find in the Digital collection of Bamberg State Library you can find a medical manuscript from 1300 with a lot of medieval medical equipment; the “Bamberger Psalter” with its magnificent illuminations; the “Bamberger Apokalypse” with imagery in 49 incredible fascinating miniatures (49 is a multiple of 7, a number with particular importance in Christian religion.)

The Bamberg Psalter

The Bamber Psalter - 9v
9v – The Baptism of Christ
The Bamber Psalter - 117r
117r – Judgement
The Bamber Psalter - 115v
115v – The Resurrection
The Bamber Psalter - 115r
115r – The Crucifixion
The Bamber Psalter - 63r
63r – Initial Q – David and Goliath
The Bamber Psalter - 62v
62v – Judas’ Kiss
The Bamber Psalter - 61v
61v – The entrance of Jesus in Jerusalem
The Bamber Psalter - 61r
61r – The Devil tempts Jesus

Final Words

A real treasure-trove, the website is easy to navigate, and so are the very well digitized manuscripts, which are enjoyable in high-resolution. The manuscripts are can be listed by signature, date of origin, and place of origin.

Worth a thousand visits.

The DMMmaps is a Project by Sexy Codicology! Sign up for our Newsletter

Get your monthly(ish) newsletter from Sexy Codicology and get all our:

Enter your email and discover more Sexy Codicology